IRS Sending Out New Coronavirus Stimulus Debit Cards Instead of Checks

IRS Sending Out New Coronavirus Stimulus Debit Cards Instead of Checks

The U.S. Treasury Department has announced that the IRS will begin sending out four million stimulus payments on prepaid debit cards this week instead of mailing paper checks. With these so-called “Economic Impact Payments” (EIP) cards, clients can make purchases, get cash from in-network ATMs and transfer funds to their personal bank account without incurring any fees. They may also check their card balance online, by mobile app or by phone at no cost.

The EIP cards can be used online, at ATMs or at any retail location where Visa is accepted. This free, prepaid card also provides consumer protections available to traditional bank account owners, including protections against fraud, loss and other errors. It will include instructions on how to activate and use the cards.

“Treasury and the IRS have been working with unprecedented speed to issue Economic Impact Payments to American families. Prepaid debit cards are secure, easy to use, and allow us to deliver Americans their money quickly,” said treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin in a press release. “Recipients can immediately activate and use the cards safely.”

The standard stimulus payment is $1,200 for single filers or $2,400 for joint filers. In addition, parents may receive $500 for each qualified child. But these amounts are phased out based on income levels.

EIP cards will be available to taxpayers who don’t have bank account information on file with the IRS. Currently, they are being distributed to those who had tax returns processed by either the Andover or Austin IRS Service Centers. If this applies to clients, give them a head’s up that that the debit cards are coming. They will likely appreciate this timely information.

The IRS began distributing economic stimulus payments in April via direct deposit to taxpayers who had up-to-date information on file. It followed up with payments by paper check starting in mid-May. However, the agency estimated it might take as long as four to five months to mail out the millions of remaining checks. Now it says that sending four million prepaid debit cards will cut down on the time.

The U.S. Treasury has already delivered more than 140 million payments worth $239 billion to taxpayers by direct deposit to accounts at financial institutions, Direct Express card accounts and by check.

EIP Cards are part of the Treasury’s U.S. Debit Card program providing prepaid debit card services to federal agencies for the electronic delivery of non-benefit payments. MetaBank was selected as the Treasury’s financial agent for the U.S. Debit Card program in 2016 following a competitive selection process conducted by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service.

Finally, be aware that some are viewing the use of the EIP cards as a test for future stimulus payments, if any are forthcoming. If all goes well, this might be a simpler and faster approach to distributing money to taxpayers.

 

Act by Wednesday 05/13 for chance to get quicker Economic Impact Payment; timeline for payments continues to accelerate

Act by Wednesday 05/13 for chance to get quicker Economic Impact Payment; timeline for payments continues to accelerate

WASHINGTON – With a variety of steps underway to speed Economic Impact Payments, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service urged people to use Get My Payment by noon Wednesday, May 13, for a chance to get a quicker delivery.

The IRS, working in partnership with Treasury Department and the Bureau of Fiscal Services (BFS), continues to accelerate work to get Economic Impact Payments to even more people as soon as possible. Approximately 130 million individuals have already received payments worth more than $200 billion in the program’s first four weeks.

Starting later this month, the number of paper checks being delivered to taxpayers will sharply increase. For many taxpayers, the last chance to obtain a direct deposit of their Economic Impact Payment rather than receive a paper check is coming soon. People should visit Get My Payment on IRS.gov by noon Wednesday, May 13, to check on their payment status and, when available, provide their direct deposit information.

“We’re working hard to get more payments quickly to taxpayers,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “We want people to visit Get My Payment before the noon Wednesday deadline so they can provide their direct deposit information. Time is running out for a chance to get these payments several weeks earlier through direct deposit.”

After noon Wednesday, the IRS will begin preparing millions of files to send to BFS for paper checks that will begin arriving through late May and into June. Taxpayers who use Get My Payment before that cut-off can still take advantage of entering direct deposit information.

How Get My Payment works

The Get My Payment tool provides eligible taxpayers with a projected Economic Impact Payment deposit date. The information is updated once daily, usually overnight. There is no need to check more than once a day. Taxpayers who did not choose direct deposit on their last tax return can use this tool to input bank account information to receive their payment by direct deposit, expediting receipt.

Non-Filers portal remains available

For those not required to file a federal tax return, the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool helps them submit basic information to receive an Economic Impact Payment quickly to their bank account. Developed in partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, this tool provides a free and easy option for those who don’t receive Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and VA Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefits. The Non-filers tool is also available in Spanish.

Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for 2019 or 2018 will receive the payments automatically. Automatic payments will also be sent to those receiving Social Security retirement, disability benefits, Railroad Retirement benefits, Veterans Affairs benefits or Supplemental Security Income soon.

Watch out for scams related to Economic Impact Payments

The IRS urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scams related to the Economic Impact Payments. To use the new app or get information, taxpayers should visit IRS.gov. People should watch out for scams using email, phone calls or texts related to the payments. Be careful and cautious: The IRS will not send unsolicited electronic communications asking people to open attachments, visit a website or share personal or financial information.

IR-2020-92, May 8, 2020

How To Validate Your Economic Stimulus Payment Check

How To Validate Your Economic Stimulus Payment Check

U.S. SECRET SERVICE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY LAUNCH – KNOW YOUR U.S. TREASURY CHECK CAMPAIGN

WASHINGTON – The Secret Service in partnership with the U.S. Department of the Treasury is leading the charge to bring awareness to citizens, retailers and financial institutions on how to protect themselves from becoming a victim of easy to detect counterfeit U.S. Treasury Checks. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), paper U.S. Treasury checks from the $2 trillion dollar Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) will be mailed and issued to millions of Americans beginning late April, 2020. With the implementation of the CARES Act, comes opportunities for criminal activity, like check fraud.

The Secret Service and the U.S. Department of the Treasury want to inform citizens and consumers nationwide on ways to protect themselves during these times. This announcement contains information that
consumers and financial institutions can use to identify counterfeit U.S Treasury checks by knowing what to look for and where to look.

Quick Tips / Genuine Security Features:

  • Treasury Seal – A new seal to the right of the Statue of Liberty. It should say “Bureau of the Fiscal Service,” and has replaced the old seal that said “Financial Management Service.”
  • Bleeding Ink – the seal to the right of the Statue of Liberty when moisture is applied to the black ink will “run” and turn red.
  • Watermark – All U.S. Treasury checks are printed on watermark paper. The watermark reads “U.S. TREASURY,” and is seen from both front and back when held up to a light source.
  • Ultraviolet Overprinting – A protective ultraviolet (UV) pattern is invisible to the naked eye, consisting of lines of “FMS” bracketed by the FMS seal on the left and the U.S. Seal (eagle) on the right. As of 2013, a new ultraviolet patter was introduced into the check that says “FISCALSERVICE”. Either one of these UV patterns maybe be seen.
  • Microprinting – is located on the back of the check with the words “USAUSAUSA.”
  • Economic Impact Payment: The Economic Impact Payment checks will have the following information located on the lower right side of the Statue of Liberty: “Economic Impact Payment President Donald J. Trump”

We at the Secret Service and the U.S. Department of the Treasury are working with our law enforcement partners to ensure a unity of effort to disrupt and deter criminal activity that could hinder an effective response to the pandemic, to help vulnerable organizations, and to recover money stolen from Americans. For more information or to report a COVID-19 related scam, please contact your local law enforcement agency, a Secret Service Field Office, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at tips.TIGTA.gov, the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov, the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). To learn more about the security features that can be found on U.S Treasury Checks please click here or visit at: https://fiscal.treasury.gov/files/reference-guidance/gold-book/check-security-features.pdf

Massachusetts Announces Implementation Of CARES Act Unemployment Benefits For Self-Employed, Gig Economy And Other Workers

Massachusetts Announces Implementation Of CARES Act Unemployment Benefits For Self-Employed, Gig Economy And Other Workers

BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration announced today that Massachusetts residents who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits can now apply online for the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

The new federal PUA program provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits who are unable to work because of a COVID-19-related reason but are not eligible for regular or extended unemployment benefits. This includes self-employed workers, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and those with limited work history. Applicants can learn more and apply at www.mass.gov/pua.

“As a Commonwealth, we are committed to doing everything in our power, and moving as urgently as possible to get workers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis the benefits they deserve,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “With the implementation of this new federal benefit program, we can better support workers not normally covered by the unemployment system like those who are self-employed or work in the gig economy.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the lives of workers across the Commonwealth, and our Administration is doing everything we can to help,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “The implementation of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program in Massachusetts is another important step in our efforts to help those who are economically disrupted by this virus.”

To be eligible for this new program, individuals must provide self-certification that they are otherwise able and available to work but are prevented from doing so by circumstances relating to COVID-19, including their own illness or that of a family member.

Those able to telework with pay and individuals receiving paid sick or other leave will not qualify for PUA. Individuals receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits for less than their customary work week, however, may still be eligible for PUA. Also, those working fewer hours, resulting in a loss of income due to COVID-19, who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits may be eligible for PUA.

“It is vital that our workforce gets the resources and help they need during this critical time,” said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta. “I’m proud of everything our team is doing to rapidly implement new programs, and ensure that as many eligible workers as possible get some relief.”

The federal CARES Act signed into law on March 27 created PUA, as well as another temporary federal program called Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) that provides an additional $600 weekly benefit for those receiving unemployment benefits or PUA. FPUC provides that additional benefit through July 25, 2020. The Commonwealth announced implementation of FPUC earlier this month.

All approved PUA applications will initially receive the minimum weekly benefit amount, plus the additional $600 FPUC weekly benefit. Once a worker’s wages are verified, weekly benefit amounts may increase. The amount of PUA benefits received is based on the individual’s reported previous income. PUA benefits may not be more than the state’s maximum weekly benefit rate for regular unemployment, which is $823 in Massachusetts.

Weekly benefits, including any increase to your weekly benefit amount, will be retroactive to January 27, 2020, or the date when you became unemployed, whichever is more recent, as long as you became unable to work because of a COVID-19 related reason.

PUA Application Process:

To apply, individuals must provide their Social Security number or US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) number if not a citizen of the United States, and their wage records for 2019, which includes 1099 forms, pay stubs, or bank statements. Applicants will also need the Social Security numbers and dates of birth for dependent children and, if requesting direct deposit for payment, your bank account and routing numbers. A full list of required documents is available at www.mass.gov/pua.

Please note that, initially, the system can only pay benefits retroactively to the week ending March 14, 2020. Eligible workers will be able to certify for benefits, and will be able to request benefits retroactively to January 27, 2020, if their dates of unemployment make them eligible.

Individuals who are determined ineligible for PUA will receive a written disqualification along with information on how to pursue an appeal. Additional information about the appeals process will be separately posted at a later date. Please visit www.mass.gov/dua for the latest information.

Funding Negotiations Likely to Fast Track as PPP Looks to Run Out of Cash Within Hours

Funding Negotiations Likely to Fast Track as PPP Looks to Run Out of Cash Within Hours

As expected, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is likely to run out of its initial allocation of
$350 billion early today leaving millions of small businesses without relief from the growing
economic effects of COVID-19. The PPP has now become the focal point of Washington politics
and the center of a standoff between Republicans, administration officials, and congressional
Democrats.

The pressure on lawmakers is real and growing and negotiations resumed late Wednesday on
how to replenish the PPP and continue to support small businesses hit by the pandemic. Early
Thursday, the Small Business Administration (SBA) said that 1.5 million applications had been
approved, totaling more than $324 billion in loans. With approximately $10 billion needed for
processing and fees, the PPP is essentially out of funds.

The leading Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, Representative Patrick
McHenry (R-NC), was quoted yesterday saying … “The fund being exhausted clearly puts
pressure on Congress to act and come to a reasonable conclusion. Every day that passes that
we don’t fund this program, more pain is felt by small business folks and their employees.”
All sides agree on adding $250 billion to the PPP but differ over whether to add restrictions to
those funds. As NSA reported earlier, the central differences appear to be centered on where
the funds would be directed. Congressional Democrats are looking to increase access to the
loans to provide relief to underserved minority and veterans groups. Republicans maintain their
position of keeping the PPP focused on small businesses. Democrats also want to add aid for
hospitals, food assistance and state and local governments but Republicans are insisting that
this be deferred until the next phase of broader legislation is crafted.

House and Senate Democratic staff and Treasury officials met late Wednesday morning and a
resolution to the standoff is expected. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told
reporters he had spoken with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Wednesday morning and that
“We see no reason why we can’t come to an agreement,” he continued “We Democrats believe
we need more money for small businesses, but we need it to go to the people who are under
banked and underserved.”

As is common in Washington, both sides have accused the other of blocking progress in the
negotiations. However, the discussions Wednesday were the first signs of progress this week. It
remains uncertain whether congressional leaders and President Trump will be able to reach an
agreement by week’s end. Encouragingly, both chambers are now scheduled to hold brief
sessions later this week.

The PPP discussions are also complicated because the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
program is also suffering from depleted funding. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced a
measure last week that would provide an additional $65 billion for this separate disaster loans
and grants program and appeared hopeful that both the PPP and EIDL additional funding could
pass. He told reporters yesterday, “I am convinced we could sign off as early as tomorrow on an
agreement if we just sit down and work.”

The EIDL Advance program had been intended to quickly deliver grants of up to $10,000 to EIDL
applicants, but overwhelming demand has caused delays and forced the SBA to change the
guidance on the program.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reiterated the Republican position in a
statement Tuesday, saying that Democrats should wait to fund other programs as part of the
next relief package and make sure that the PPP relief for small-businesses was funded. The
statement read “There is no time to insist on sweeping renegotiations or ultimatums about
other policies that passed both houses unanimously”.

In anticipation of the PPP funds running out, however, some banks are reportedly no longer
accepting PPP applications from small businesses. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday
that Arvest Bank, a regional lender based in Arkansas has made more than $1 billion in loans to
more than 7,000 borrowers, but as of Tuesday has now stopped taking new applications.
“We’re at a point now where we have so many [applications], we’re concerned that the
money’s going to run out,” Arvest Chief Executive Kevin Sabin was quoted. “We’re really
hopeful that…they can get another $250 billion allocated before this runs out, and then we’ll
open it wide open again.”

However, the sheer size of the small business community may be an important part of the
debate not yet being faced in Washington. With an estimated 30 million small businesses in the
United States and the effects of the COVID-19 economic downturn being felt in every corner of
that community, an additional $250 billion is likely not enough relief. With approximately 5% of
small businesses having now received around $334 billion in PPP loans there still remains an
overwhelming majority without relief and likely in need of it.

-April 16, 2020 John Rice NSA CEO